Swansea City will face Champions League drop-outs Napoli in the last 32 tie of the Europa League, having qualified from their group by the skin of their teeth, reports BBC Sport.

Having started the group stages well with a resounding 3-0 victory against Valencia, the Swans stuttered over the line and finished second in their group with just two wins.  

Russian outfit Kuban Krasnodar forced injury-time equalisers against Michael Laudrup's men, dropping four points against them. And, the Russians could have taken advantage of Swansea losing the last group game against St. Gallen, however they could not get the three points against Valencia they needed to finish above Swansea.

The result of Swansea's costly lack of wins and failure to finish top of their group now sees them face Rafa Benitez's Napoli side who dropped out of the Champions League.  And with the strength and energy in the Napoli side, Laudrup will need all his first-team players fit and firing on all cylinders.  

Swansea's resolve will be fully tested when they travel to Naples for the away tie, with the San Paolo Stadium known to be a rather hostile place to be. Arsenal and Arsene Wenger will know this all too well, having met them in the Champions League already this season.

This means Laudrup will need the likes of Michu and Nathan Dyer - both currently missing for the Swans - fit and ready for the first-leg tie on February 20th.  

And, having added Gonzalo Higuain to replace the departed Edinson Cavani, Napoli still have a potent goal threat in attack, as well as in midfield with Marek Hamsik.

Despite such a bright start away to Valencia, Laudrup and his men must now overcome a big hurdle to progress into the last-16 of the competition. Having played 10 games already to reach the last 32, combined with the gruelling English League and Cup schedule, the tie could see Laudrup's team stretched and missing key players as he is currently.  

But regardless of the result, it will be a fantastic experience for the young manager and his players, and one they may learn well from as well. 

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Topics:
Swansea City
Europa League
Football